As DOE seeks to boost coal, Luminant to shut major Texas plant
Luminant’s announcement that it plans to retire its Monticello coal plant comes as the debate over the Department of Energy’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on providing compensation for baseload generation heats up.
In the most recent development, Energy Secretary Rick Perry defended his action, saying the NOPR is “not a directive” for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which came on the heels of FERC Chairman Robert Powelson’s criticism of the plan.
ERCOT would be exempt from any FERC ruling — Texas’s power system lies outside of federal jurisdiction. But Luminant’s move underscores the marketplace dynamics challenging coal plants and for which the DOE is trying to find a policy remedy.
In the end, Luminant’s decision was not based on environmental regulations and policies, but on market economics. “The market’s unprecedented low power price environment has profoundly impacted its operating revenues and no longer supports continued investment,” Curt Morgan, Vistra Energy’s president and CEO, said in a statement on Monticello’s closing.